Paul Haggis Investigates: In Search of the Schism

The DGA deal looks great. At least that is what everyone in the press is saying. And the writers better be grateful and take it... or else.

The “or else’ part has been well reported. Even before the DGA came to an agreement with the studios, we were hearing about the ramifications of not taking their deal. It would be catastrophic. It would split the WGA. I read it again in the trades Friday morning. The story goes that there is a growing schism in the guild, and top screenwriters are ready to walk.

I was asked about this schism Thursday by two reporters. I was embarrassed to say that I didn’t know anything about it. I hadn’t been approached, even in the most oblique way, to join with the "top screenwriters" who are going to pressure the guild to accept the deal, or else.

I can only assume that this is because my film failed so sensationally this year that I quickly fell off the list. I guess even secret screenwriter cabals judge you by your last picture.

But then I realized that no actual top screenwriter I know has been approached to join either. And none of them know anyone else who has. So I asked these two reporters if they had spoken to any writers who had indicated, even off the record or on deep background, that they were going to pressure the guild or go financial corps. Neither of them had. And neither of them knew any other reporters who had actually spoken to writers who said they would do any such thing.


Yes, we have had one writer publicly declaring financial core status, but this can’t be what the press is referring to, can it? Because they surely wouldn’t describe one or two writers out of seven thousand active members as a major pressure group. At least so one would think.

Even if these reporters had found and interviewed a couple of other writers who were threatening to do the same, surely they would have reported it as “a couple of mid-level writers are going to pressure the guild.” But no, that can’t be it because a few writers isn’t a schism. Journalists and editors don’t just throw around terms like that.

But if it is true, shouldn’t someone actually know at least one big writer who is in this group? Shouldn’t someone have let it slip? We have been called a lot of things, but when is the last time a writer was accused of keeping his mouth shut? Surely someone would want the glory that comes with being the spokesperson for a group that is going to save the Guild from itself. Look at ‘85 and ‘88, the Union Blues spokesmen were out front from day one. They even had a catchy name and a logo.

Yes, there will be many different opinions about the DGA deal and whether we should take it or not. But that is not what is being reported. You would think that Jim Brooks, Steve Gaghan, Eric Roth, John Logan, Robin Swicord, Susannah Grant, Aaron Sorkin, Callie Khouri, Tony Gilroy, Ron Harwood, Diablo Cody and a coterie of other highly-paid, award-clutching scribes are circling the Guild offices in black Priuses, waiting for the right moment to pounce and pressure us into taking the DGA deal verbatim.

Those are top screenwriters, no doubt, but I would find it strangely ironic if they were plotting subversion while picketing, working tirelessly on various Guild boards, and openly expressing their support for the strike.

So here is where my mind started to go: Could this reporting have anything to do with a well organized and very expensive PR campaign to convince WGA members that we should shut up and be grateful for what we got? But then I thought, “Come on, these are The Trades and other very reputable newspapers – top media sources that we rely upon not just for local news, but for well-researched and independent reporting on international events. Whether it is Burbank or Baghdad, they speak with integrity, they check their sources, they get things right or they don’t print it.

Seriously, what would this town be like if we couldn’t trust our newspapers, our well-meaning agents and producer friends?

So, you have my apologies for questioning this undisputable fact that is so well reported. This powerful group of influential screenwriters not only exists, we should be very, very afraid of them.

Sometimes I just have this cynical streak.

Paul Haggis
writer-director of “Juno” (honest)


Tony Puryear said...

Well said. Schism shmism. As both a WGA member of 17 years' standing and a veteran of other union struggles, I have to say I've never seen a membership as united and determined as WGA is now.

No matter what you may read in the papers, we will not be split, we will not be made to take an unfair on unjust deal.

Somebody please put that in the LA Times, yo.

People please... said...


Great read! I hope that all writers who are approached by the media will ask questions like you do.

If we stay calm and talk to one another, we'll squash panic and be able to stay united. That's how we'll get the fair deal we deserve.

not a troll said...

You don't really believe that do you Paul?

mheister said...

Thank you Paul Haggis!

Joseph said...

Great read, Paul. When (and it is only a matter of time and technology) TV and the Internet are fused into one, the $1200 cap for one year of ad-streamed video which was a part of the DGA deal would represent a 90% reduction in our residuals. I want to get back to work as much as anyone. I am not an unemployed writer. Like many of you, I have lost a lot of money in this strike. But a 90% rollback would not be a victory. It would be a major, historic defeat. Many of us are upset about the deal we got in '88. We are upset in retrospect at those writers who settled for that deal back then. I don't want future generations to look back on us in this same manner. Now is the time to remain unified and get a fair deal. Now is not the time for short-term thinking. If "getting back to work" means losing all the gains we've achieved up until now, I for one am willing to wait a while longer. And I don't think I'm alone.

Not An said...

Mr. Haggis is a talented and successful writer and his accomplishments and opinions should be treated with respect.

While I have not yet made up my mind about a deal - mainly because no deal has been made with the WGA or presented to its members - I am studying the DGA deal to see what may be of value. I am sure Mr. H is doing the same.

I do wonder though why the UAW model of dealing with the Big Three - not sure that term is still correct - has been called up as one that the WGA should use. I am not a UAW historian and I would like to stress my respect for the hardworking membership of that union; however, the UAW's membership is down from a late seventies high of about 1.5 mil to a current membership of around 650,000. The union's recent negotiations while giving its membership enhanced healthcare and modest increases in wages and retirement also agreed to possible discussions about changing the workforce and perhaps instituting a two tier wage plan for subsidiary facilities. All of these were done by a responsible leadership which recognized the changing face of the automotive industry and the diminshing share that US automakers have in the American marketplace.

I do understand that the talk is not so much about what the UAW has achieved as the way it approaches its negotiations - talking with each company rather than with one -personally I'm not sure I want to be in a climate of perpetual negotiations and strike threats, seems to me all that really does is make the negotiating committee more powerful. Since the WGA has proven its strength by bringing the entire town to a virtual standstill, I'm not sure that the argument about the vast power of the villanous AMPTP to force the WGA to comply with its wishes holds water; in fact, this train of thought seems to be in contrast to the widely evident strength and solidarity of the WGA membership.

In addition, while I am quite sure that many stories being written are not entirely vetted and sourced and that many feed off of one another, I do doubt that the NYT, the WSJ and the FT all got it entirely wrong - and, given the current climate against dissent, it is also possible that some people who are discreetly discussing their differing views might keep that amongst those with whom they are discussing them and Mr. H - while admittedly a talented and successful A lister - might not be privy to those discussions.

I do not know what point is served by fomenting suspicion of every news outlet, of every dissenter of everyone who is not "one of us". Ours is a changing industry and while we must act in our own self interest, we must also build relationships even with those we may not like or with those whom may disagree. There is nothing to be gained by destroying an entire community with paranoid conspiracy theories and complete distrust of everyone who may be on the other side of the argument.

Bonnie said...

Paul and other "star" writer/directors who have been on the picket line since day one deserve our thanks. There bread is buttered on the director side. Yet they have stood with the
"rank and file" writers. There are plenty of writers who have a lot more at stake who have choose to stay home and complain and blog.

Al said...

Bravo, Paul. Every time I read an article that talks about these top writers who are angry at leadership and ready to defect, I am baffled, Why do they never mention any of their names or even quote them off the record?! I walk the line with every A-List writer that you listed, plus many others, and I have not engaged in a single conversation, or even overheard one, where any serious disagreement with our leadership has been communicated. It's all crap -- disinformation -- thank you for saying so.

As a B-plus writer, let me say without hesitation -- if we take this deal we are nuts. Anyone who thinks we can negotiate a better deal in three years is deluding himself. There is no negotiation without the threat of a strike and if we cave in now, there is no way we will strike again so soon and the AMPTP will know that. We will be toast.

Geo Rule said...

At least John Wells was willing to put his name on his opinion (which did not, so far as I saw, include any threats of apocalypse if his opinion was not heeded). This does lead me to believe that "schism" is much more rumured than real.

jimmy said...

Can't wait to see Juno, Paul.

Oh, and I love you as that producer guy on 30 Rock!

whatshernamefromWinnipeg said...

Thanks Paul - sounds like their "source" was the guy at the next desk.

Nia Vardalos
(Cinematographer of "Crash")

MrsWakely said...

It seems to me that the WGA negotiators are dealing, under enormous pressure, with specifics, not public relations, and that the bulk of the so-called building dissent, comes from writers who don't seem to understand it is not the job of the negotiators to call you at home and say, "here's what just happened and here's exactly what we're going to do." Being a WGA member who voted for and supports the strike means you now have an obligation to hunker down and be patient. If the negotiators, with the full backing of the membership, make a shitty deal, the WGA still has the authority to vote it down. If the negotiators continue to be publicly heckled, questioned, criticized and vilified by their own membership, and THEN make a shitty deal, the membership will have no one to blame but themselves. It's the equivalent of the private in the fox hole bitching and moaning that the generals aren't getting you enough information. Shut up and do your job, which, for the WGA membership, is a lot easier than any private in any foxhole in the history of the world.You want a good deal? You may have to stay on strike my fellow privates. And another thing: the John Wells's of the world need to understand: at a certain point, you may find the vast majority of your fellow members in the WGA aren't particularly interested in YOU telling THEM why this is such a good deal, when it clearly isn't. You may find your fellow members have the authority via the vote to tell YOU you need to get YOUR obscene price down, so there's a little more to go around, that YOU are actually a big reason why there's NO MONEY left after they get done paying YOU, and that's one of the biggest reasons why the AMPTP is looking to break the rank and file.
Jeff Zucker of NBC just announced he's looking to take advantage of the strike to fundamentally remake the television business, going heavier on reality, emphasizing overseas markets, and throwing out the pilot season as we know it. Seems they're tired of greenlighting pilots at 1, 2 million a pop, then finding out all of them suck after paying through the NOSE their star(s), and show-runner(s). Once again, I go back to earlier posts, the short version of which is, HUGE upfront and gross deals to our "union" actor, writer and director "brothers and sisters" whether a movie or TV show does well or not, has the AMPTP looking to blow up the business and get those costs under control once and for all. The translation of that is: "we're still ready to make a handful stupid rich, but we're going to screw everybody else or else we're going out of business." The WGA can't rely on the American people to turn away from reality television: it's like a car crash, they'll watch it all day long. We overestimate scripted programming at our peril: most of it sucks and the American people can clearly live without it. We need to get a handle on our OWN costs. We need to openly discuss and resolve the incredible inequity between what say, Kelsey Grammer and the guy who does a recurring role on "Back to You" gets paid. We need to get a handle on a fairer distribution of compensation between what Adam Sandler gets paid and what the actress who plays his Mom gets paid in his next picture.
We need to get some INTERNAL debate going about whether we should be looking to expand on the status quo, which is basically what this strike is about, or whether we need to tighten up these so-called unions, get some lean and mean muscle into who we are and what we need to do our jobs, and be PART of the discussion with the suits about how we, the creative community, and the producers can go FORWARD offering better product, at a much more sensible price, in a system where, if a tv show or movie does well, sure, the suits and the stars do best, but EVERYBODY does well if it succeeds, and NOBODY does well if it doesn't. Regardless of what Jeff Zucker is announcing today, he will most probably be gone tomorrow, WE however will still be here. We need to redefine what this business IS.

Michael said...

Then again, sometimes badly-sourced reporting happens because of sloppy reporters under deadline pressure and isn't the product of a vast, well-funded corporate conspiracy.

And also, sometimes certain personality types like to feel enobled by imagining they are doing battle with a sinister behemoth instead of just acting in their own (legitimate) self-interest.

Speaking of sloppiness, it's 'financial core.' Not 'financial corps.'

diane said...

Thank you, Paul! And also a thanks to Nia Vardalos whose smiling face I've seen on the picket line more than once, (collecting toys for needy children, delivering pizza to needier writers, and just generally spreading good cheer). You and Haggis are both class acts. Hang tough, people. No one said this would be easy, but right is on our side.

scribeguy said...

Boy, I am really glad to hear a real, honesttogod A-lister say that. As a non A-list writer I was getting very envious at not being invited to all the cool cabals in murky, wildly overpriced restaurants known only to those special few (and you know who you are...don't you? No, really, DON'T you?). All of my screenwriter friends with recent, successful movies were on the line with me, and like poor Paul, we were surrounded by a cone of silence (later attributed to hearing loss from all the honking on Lancashire and Alameda Blvds, but you know what I mean.)

But I think I've discovered what our problem is: those garish red shirts are just... tacky. Wearing our sentiments on our sleeves (or our T-shirts): too on-the-nose. Our fashion sense (or lack of) is keeping us out of the in-crowd, the real "powers behind the thrown" the "movers and shakers" who were going to "force the WGA" (I think Nikki Finke said that) to take the DGA deal...this a month before there was one.

So anyway, I feel better. Paul Haggis, Tony Gilroy, Diablo Cody and I...all have at least one thing in common, now, we're all out of the loop.

Somehow, that, too, makes me feel a little better...the having something in common thing. I STILL want to be approached by one of the plotters and let in on the master plan. You can find me at NBC most days. I'm the one in the red shirt.)

Tom B. said...

The New York Times front page report of this non-existent schism on Saturday amazed and outraged me. Most people I speak with(not all) just want to see a fair deal in place and seem resigned to hang tough as long as our leadership indicates is necessary. Last night, I met a showrunner who had lost his term deal on Black Monday(or was it Friday) and I figured... now I am going to be speaking to someone who really is going to be in favor of this deal(any deal) right now. Not the case. It does feel like we are all in this together among the writers I have spoken with around town.

Pierson LeClergue said...

Mr. Haggis - I am a fan. And a working b-list writer. And right now, I'd like to do two things:
One - go back to work.
Two - defend John Wells' position on the DGA deal.
You call yourself a cynic as irony - but to quote Woody Allen quoting Freud, there are no jokes. I applaud your support of our guild - of Verrone and company - but while you can afford to fight for many more months, some of us would like to see this thing resolved. And dealt with respectfully. Some of us, sorry, didn't get to cash our big weekly rewrite check before the picketing started. Did you, Mr. Haggis?

Watching The Wheels Go Round said...

Great piece, Paul - once again. I have sensed no schism on the picket lines, among the ordinary, usually-not-at-all-militant writers, nor any rush to accept the first terms we are offered. The AMPTP walked away from the table 44 days ago, now they want to cosy up and talk.

We're not going to strike again in a hurry, and they know it, so let's not rely on any sunset provision to revisit this deal in three years' time. Let's get it right now - for us, for our incredibly supportive friends in SAG (thank you all from the bottom of my heart), and for everybody else in this town, so that no one has to go through this again for many years to come.

And Pierson Leclergue, have you tried applying for a Writers Guild Strike Fund interest-free loan? They are incredibly swift to process them and there is a lot of cash in reserve for those in genuine need. Or does the fact that you're paid by the AMPTP make it more difficult?

hotline said...

Pierson -

I don't have Haggis money. But I am willing to suffer in the sort term to have a more secure future down the road.

Thanks for more of your great words, Paul!

Not An said...

Doesn't belong on this thread but check out DHD's new look - no more ads - about time she realized you can't be pro-WGA and accept studio ads and link backs to the studio ad heavy LA Weekly.

Michael & Pierson - good thoughts

mheister said...

Michael -

I thought it was "financial corpse".

Someone had to say it.

LKB said...

Schism is pure rumor and the Guild leadership knows all about it. Hopefully their PR guys will help tamp it down.

In my idealistic world, I would hope that the DGA membership is appropriately insulted by the residuals formula for new media and refuses to ratify it. But from what I know about DGA members is that they don't have all that much say. They kicked a TV Director off the neg comm because that person would've fought that formula. Gil doesn't want anything to interere with his greatest show on earth. But I have feeeeeeling that his show might be in trouble. See, SAG hates the DGA deal, too, and as June looms, they are getting more serious about this whole conflict. Expect picket lines and expect actors not to cross, Gil. The DGA did this town a huge disservice by jumping at the first deal they could get and agreeing to something the other guilds can't afford and won't sign.

Hang tight, Writers. Your strongest moment is now. The new content faucet has slowed to a drip and the real pain will begin. See ya on the line.

Captain Obvious said...

Yeah? My friend's cousin's nephew's half brother's grandma's bingo buddy's sister-in-law supposedly saw Hoffa, Elvis, and Howard Hughes's cyborg having lunch together, too.

Dan said...

Didn't Mr Haggis recently return to work, under contract, at UA?

maybe the 'schism' is between the haves, and the have nots- having work/income, that is.

Becca said...

Mrs Wakely:
"The WGA can't rely on the American people to turn away from reality television: it's like a car crash, they'll watch it all day long. We overestimate scripted programming at our peril: most of it sucks and the American people can clearly live without it."

Thanks for speaking on my behalf as a member of the American people. I realize this is your own misguided opinion. Now let me set you staight.

1. Most scripted shows are 100% better than reality TV, which I've learned is also scripted. SO when you say that most scripted programs suck, you must be referring to reality TV. Regular scripted programs, like The Unit, Brothers & Sisters and L&O: Criminal Intent do not suck. They are the programs all others should live up to.

2. While I cannot speak on behalf of the entire American viewing public, I can speak on behalf of quite a few. Most of us do not watch reality TV in mass doses and actually avoid it like the plague. If your opinion is based on the Neilson ratings, then take a closer look at how the Neilsen ratings are conducted. They DO NOT cover the entire United States. They are as flawed as the People's Choice Awards.

Need any more clarification?

Michael: speaking of sloppiness, it's enabled not enobled. FYI.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't have passed on Medaian Paul. VInce was upset and had E place this story with Variety.

reasonable said...

I love you.
When my producers move to "dumb down" my work to appease "joe 6 pack", I think of your very eloquent quotes, insight & vision throughout this strike & know that you and so many people like you have more intelligence than these "experts" will ever have in their entire lifetimes. Your inspiration is invaluable. I hope to never let you down.

Harold said...

I've adjusted my expectations of the final deal due to the DGA deal, but Paul Haggis's words give me some hope.

My hope is that the final deal will have been worth the strike. I think that is important, because making this strike count is important. It MUST count. RIGHT NOW is important, not three years from now.

But what do I mean by a deal that is "worth the strike?" Does it mean obtaining everything stated in the proposals?

I honestly don't know.

I think it will be like pornography. I will know it when I see it.

And I haven't seen it yet.

hotline said...

Jeff Zucker is the Georg W. Bush of the entertainment industry. They both failed up and they both continue to destroy what were two great super powers. And both are going to go down in their respective histories as arrogant buffoons.

My God, when are they going to pay Zucker seventy million dollars to leave?

bpm said...
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bpm said...
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scribeguy said...

Dan says:
Didn't Mr Haggis recently return to work, under contract, at UA?

maybe the 'schism' is between the haves, and the have nots- having work/income, that is.

Who says the AMPTP trolls aren't creative? No sooner does someone discredit one bogus rift in the guild, when they invent a new one!

In fact, last night a friend of mine told me he's going back to work: on a project for the Weinstein Company. I know I was supposed to be upset and jealous and, oh, I don't know...MEAN SPIRITED about it all, "Dan," but, brainwashed as I am, I was actually very happy for him. And I was happy for us, because I know a lot of the feature producers, and they're looking at Harvey, and Paula and Roger (Yes, I'm on a first name basis with them...isn't everyone?) who are once again cranking out movies...and it's really pissing THEM off. Why? Because the Alliance's attempt to weaken unions is NOT THEIR FIGHT, and yet they've been dragged into it, and it's about to seriously hurt their bottom line.

And that, "Dan," is the real schism.

god is mean said...

i don't know. it looks to me like the DGA is basically taking a little bit more than the AMPTP offered us in the first place. maybe directors don't care about residuals. i do know that when it comes to hiring directors for network television, the studio and network give you a list of people you're allowed to hire. and that's it. there's no discussion... no changing their minds. you can't hire that really talented guy or gal you worked with in the past if they're not on "the list." i don't know what it's like in features, but that's what it's like in network television. also, on one of the first days of picketing at sony, i said i was cold and paul haggis gave me his jacket to wear.

Not An said...

Scribeguy -

I think Dan made a legitimate point: there are those of us who are allowed to work and those of us who aren't and I'm not sure I want to take my marching orders from someone for whom the strike has effectively ended.

Plus, even if he were a plant and I don't think he is, why not make a well thought our rebuttal instead of just crying troll.

Michael said...


No, I actually mean 'enobled' as in 'made to feel noble.'

Michael said...

... although I actually now realize it's spelled 'ennobled.' Glad I'm not in the Spellers Guild of America!

distractme said...

Ok, I'm confused. IMDB says Juno was directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody (WGA), no mention of Paul Haggis. It also says Paul Haggis is working on Bond 22, no mention of Juno. So...what's the deal?

Bill said...

Thanks Paul for coming forward not anonymously.

I learned a long time ago you never realize how wrong the press can be until they report on something you know about. Factor that in exponentially.

That being said I know one A +++ writer who had been contacted but just more as a suggestion 'if this falls apart such and such could happen'. As the writer explained it to me, because I asked, it wasn't high pressure, threatening, or any such thing.

For me, with all the talk of the WGA reaction to the DGA tentative deal, I'd really like to hear SAG's reaction. If it passes the SAG smell test and the DGA smell test -- I don't want to be the only ones in the barrel again. If it doesn't pass the SAG smell test then they should be out in front with us -- because A, it won't matter what we do if SAG turns it down -- or B, our turning it down, if that is the case -- will have that much more credibility if SAG is going to do the same.

So, that's what I'd like to hear about.

Other than that I'd like to take this opportunity to plug the BENEFIT SHOWS at 10 p.m. on WEDNESDAY NIGHTS at the LAUGH FACTORY. Jamie Masada is turning over the $20 admission fee to the Writers Guild Foundation-Industry Support Fund which goes to all those BTL'ers, NON-WRITERS financially affected by the strike. Reservations are suggested. (323) 656-1336. We've raised several thousand dollars so far, thanks to Jamie Masada owner of the Laugh Factory.

Thanks again Paul for your standing up and being counted. I realize you are not telling us to accept the deal or not accept the deal -- obviously, from your perspective that might not have a whole lot of credibility -- but you are pointing out the vagaries of the press -- and not to be stampeded either way.

Bill Taub
(formerly a 'stripper')

Gary said...

I keep hearing about the schism as well and I just don't see it. People grumble and complain but that's what all writers do.

Also, "In The Valley Of Elah" is the most compelling contemplation of war, violence and patriotism I've seen since "Born On The Fourth Of July." That's why you're not on the top screenwriter list.

Harold said...

"distractme said...Ok, I'm confused. IMDB says Juno was directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody (WGA), no mention of Paul Haggis. It also says Paul Haggis is working on Bond 22, no mention of Juno. So...what's the deal?"

That's funny, DistractMe.


writer-director of "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" (honest)

John said...

"Ok, I'm confused. IMDB says Juno was directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody (WGA), no mention of Paul Haggis. It also says Paul Haggis is working on Bond 22, no mention of Juno. So...what's the deal?"

Ah say, ah say, it's a JOKE, son, you're supposed to laugh.

Though I do wish Nia Vardalos would do more cinematography work... her constructions with light and shadow... simply brilliant. Puts Spinotti to shame.

MrsWakely said...

"The Unit," "Law and Order: Criminal Intent," and "Brothers and Sisters," are the shows we should look up to? Really? I'd call that a subjective judgement, and one you're certainly entitled to, but, both in terms of ratings, and critical appeal, I think your choices fall short of the best we have to offer. I would have gone with "The Wire," and... nothing else comes to mind. I'm sure there's something. Yes, Jeff Probst's "instructions" are scripted on "Survivor," and yes, "reality" writers should have wage, workplace and health and pension benefits just like everybody else, especially as the suits increasingly rely on reality. Of course, then, it wouldn't be quite so low cost because they couldn't continue raping their staffs and crews during the 90 hour weeks, on some of the most watched shows on television. I don't quite know what numbers you're refering to in your put down of reality programming, but, I can assure you, they're not the ones the industry is looking at.
I am certainly in agreement that scripted shows are "better" than reality, but "100%"? Have you seen "How I Met Your Mother?"

distractme said...

Thanks, Harold and John! I didn't know enough to tell if it was a joke or a serious statement about not getting proper credit.

Dan said...

Hey Scribe guy - far from being a 'plant' -I'm one of the BTL 'haves' since I work on features and not TV.

I don't know anything about your 'schisms' I was merely pointing out the appearance of a paradox.

Personally, i'd rather hear from a former working TV writer, who's about to lose his/her insurance coverage and home, about whether they'd like to 'strike to the death' then from the A listers. Where's Patrick Meighan from Culver City when you need him?

BTW, how is it that we just revised pages on the show I'm currently working on?

VDOVault said...

I'm not seeing any evidence of a schism between the writers...far from it. And I'm just a fan who learned long before the strike began to read all mainstream media with an industrial-sized grain of salt. It's because the same dudes who don't want to pay screenwriters and TV writers are also way too cheap to pay for real journalism anymore (which is why so many great journalists have quit the business). And given what journalists are paid who in there right mind would work hard to get a real story investigated and printed or published or broadcast in a mainstream venue on their own dime.

These congloms do not know what is going to hit them as the public wakes up to their cheapness.

S.E. Olson
President, NBC Universal Entertainment who is more than happy to break with the AMPTP, give the creatives what they want already and get on with the business of making money without making an ass of myself.

hotline said...

Hey Dan -

You say you work in features then you say you're working on a "show."

Oh, and if anybody's about to lose their home, I'd say they weren't working before the strike started cause it takes several months of none payment for a bank to take your house keys away.

Nice try tho, fake blt.

Harold said...

"hotline said...it takes several months of none [sic] payment for a bank to take your house keys away."

Please post the name of your mortgage holder. I'm not requesting this to challenge your statement.

I want to refinance my mortgage with them. I'm sure others would as well.

Dan said...

"hotline said...
Hey Dan -

You say you work in features then you say you're working on a "show."

Oh, and if anybody's about to lose their home, I'd say they weren't working before the strike started cause it takes several months of none payment for a bank to take your house keys away.

Nice try tho, fake blt."


Yeah, you got me. In the midwest, when you head to the theater to see a movie, you often may say "I'm headed to see a show"

Regardless, I said that personally, I would rather hear from a working writer, that was facing economic loss, as to whether they still feel like 'striking to the death.' I even mentioned someone that has often taken great pains to be honest and forthright, but, who, as of late has not posted anything.

But, you're obviously much smarter than I, and know so much more about the 'lingo' of the industry, so, yeah, you've exposed me as a... well a "fake bit"

Well, I'm going to be heading to my 'fake bit' job again tomorrow morning at 6 am, where we'll continue building our 'fake bit' sets for the 'fake bit' show... er, sorry, MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, we're working on, that has just received 'fake bit' script revisions (blue pages) at one of the major 'fake bit' studios.

I just wish I could hire some more of my brothers/sisters that have been laid off of their 'fake bit' tv SHOWS, but sadly we're all crewed up.

Good job, Hotline on totally discrediting me.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever consider the more simple solution to your nagging question, that journalists these days are nothing more than the slothful gossipy neighbor who repeats what they hear verbatim without the slightest inkling that maybe they should check out the facts first? (Or is my response simply my own brand of cynicism?)

scribeguy said...


I make of point of...making a point when I bust trolls. And my point was, the writers I know are happy for those who've returned to work.

And if you're a BTL (and just what kind is that, "Dan"? Location Manager? FX guy? It's always so vague, somehow), and you've returned to work, then I am genuinely happy for you. That is, if you are in fact genuine. And thanks for the tip about the "scab" pages, by the way. Just another schism we should worry about, right, "Dan"?

And BTW if you're BTL, why are you commenting on internal WGA schisms you don't know "jack" about, on a writers' blog? Could you possibly be trying to sew dissension, there, "Dan"? Divide and conquer is still the tune, even though the AMPTP fired Fabio and LeHate. And the beat goes on. Rich against poor, employed against unemployed, TV against feature writer, Big Ender vs. Little Ender. You guys are really starting to bore me. Go find the DGA blog and pretend you're an ecstaticly happy director whose just thrilled with the new contract for awhile.

Meanwhile, folks, getting back to Paul Haggis' post. There's a lot LESS going on out there than meets the eye seems to be HIS point. Don't be fooled by all the rumors. Sure people are stressed out to the max, and with good reason. But don't look for internecine conflicts that don't exist: save them for your next script, where a good imaginative conflict can actually make you some money.

Pax vobiscum.

Simona said...

The AMPTP will do themselves a favor if they can put aside their diamond-filled champagne glasses and listen to the public. Although many are not vocal about it, 90% of the people I’ve come across are supportive of the strike.

As a teenager and aspiring screenwriter I find it insulting how the AMPTP are trying to weasel their way out of an unavoidable situation like spoilt children. Hollywood was a word once used with superbia, now it seems to embarrass even the most proud. It’s undoubtedly turned into its own worst nightmare.

Even before the strike, studios were avoiding new writers. Not only were they shunned, their work was “rewritten” by old school writers who’ve clearly gone past their used-by date. Studios were setting a new trend by following an old one, hoping one era's fascination will be another’s obsession. Instead of approaching new writers and searching for fresh idea's... this "gamble" was supplanted by turning to dusty film reels and creating new remakes of old, one-hit wonders. And why not? Gone with the Wind could easily be adapted into a downtown LA gangster film with drag queens... Oh, c'mon, be open-minded. Isn't that what they want us to be?

The AMPTP should take their own advice.

This strike will set a long-awaited precedent. One way or another, the studios won’t be able to talk their way out of this one.

Go the writers!

Peter said...

Quite well said, Paul. I speak regularly to working writers who, while cheered by the fact that the DGA made significant inroads, are well aware of the fact that not all of our issues are addressed by that agreement.